PORT WENTWORTH, Ga. (WSAV) — The Ghost Pirates have big plans for Port Wentworth. On Tuesday, the team announced they’re building a 90,000-square-foot training facility in hopes to drum up business in the city.
“We desperately needed some infusion of retail and restaurants,” said Steve Davis, Port Wentworth City Manager. “And I think this is going to be the catalyst that takes us to the next level.”
With a price tag of $25 million, the facility will house two ice rinks, a sports bar and grill and a team shop. Davis said the center is being built inside the 150-acre recreation park the city broke ground on recently.
Bryan Sklover, the team’s Director of Community Relations and Game Presentation said the new facility is being built with the community in mind. He echoes the city manager’s hopes it energizes the area. And introduces a cold-weather sport to Coastal Georgia children.
“It’s just ideal for us to bring our youth tournament and other things as well to the area, which is a huge economic impact for hotels and restaurants and, you know, being only 20 minutes from downtown Savannah proper, it’s just going to drive a new kind of energy to the city,” Sklover said.
The investment is a joint venture between the team and the city but the team will foot most of the costs. The city provided the land and will cover the utilities. After completion of the building, the city will give the Ghost Pirates a $1 million grant and a loan for a portion of the facility
Ghost Pirates CEO, Andy Kaufmann said being a go-to spot for the community is another reason the team is excited to open its doors. Kaufmann also hopes this new facility can be a pipeline to grow the future ghost pirates right here.
“It gives us the ability to develop fans from the youth and develop hockey players from the age of four on up,” Kaufmann said. “Who knows, maybe in 18 years we will see someone who started skating at four years skate up with the ghost pirates. Our favorite thing about it is the engagement with the community 365 days a year. Instead of just 36 home games, we get to hang out and do special things together throughout the year.”
The Ghost Pirates plan to have the facility ready to go by the summer of 2025 just in time to escape the summer heat.